Skip to main content

tv   BBC World News  WHUT  March 17, 2011 7:00am-7:30am EDT

7:00 am
>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for
7:01 am
a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. wh can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> you are watching bbc news with tim wilcox live in tokyo. increasingly desperate measures to try to cool the nuclear plant in fukushima. helicopters have been dropping tons of water on the stricken plant. the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant widens, adding to the humanitarian crisis with more than half a million people now homeless. and as the radiation situation remains uncertain, the united states and britain advised their nationals to leave tokyo and the north of japan. >> welcome to bbc world news. i am kara in london.
7:02 am
also in this program -- in rain in your security forces. the message to bahrain by the u.n.'s top security official. the crisis and i riposte shows no signs of ending -- the crisis and the ivory coast shows no signs of ending. hello. seven days after the disaster, japanese authorities are still battling to bring stability to the stricken fukushima power or plan. let joined my colleague tony wilcox. >> hello, and welcome to japan where authorities are still trying to cool down the stricken nuclear plant in fukushima. the united states government and the british government has now
7:03 am
advised all nationals living in tokyo and the north of the country to leave the area if they wish, and flights are being arranged. let's just have a look at some of the developments in the past few hours. it is early evening. darkins has volunteered but this morning, japanese military helicopters were dropping up to 7 tons of sea water at a time over the four reactors at that fukushima plant. there were plans than to bring in fire hoses for the police to put water on the reactors. that has been abandoned in the last few hours because of rising radiation levels. a number of foreign governments are advising their citizens to consider leaving tokyo and northern japan, including britain, the united states, and also now australia and france. around 5300 people are known to have died and more than 8000 are
7:04 am
still missing. bitter winter weather, snow, has added to the misery for survivors but more supplies are now reported to be reaching them. s t's get an update on allel den l developments in the past few hours. >> military helicopters making a fresh attempt to damp enough water on the most endangered parts of the fukushima nuclear plant to reduce the threat of serious radiation leaks. but the television footage appears to show at least some of the water disbursed by the wind. it is not clear how far this strategy will help contain the crisis. these water cannons have been brought in, too, and what is on crest -- unquestionably a race against time. >> the defense force conducted a spraying of water from the air and the police are also going to start the water spraying by the water cannon trucks.
7:05 am
we are trying to combine these two approaches to maximize the affect of what her spreading. reactorsof the plants' -- the particular focus at the moment is trying to cool unit no. 3 of the fuel rods. steam and smoke escaping has led to more worries about water evaporation. they are also trying to replenish water in the cooling pool where the use rods are stored. the more the right to become overheated, the greater the risk of radiation being emitted. this japanese television team went into the exclusion zone of minamisoma, 12 miles from the complex, where the official instruction is for people to stay indoors. they found a notebook -- local hospital nervous about admitting new visitors. anyone who is allowed in is checked over for radiation. the staff decided to stay here to look after their patients.
7:06 am
tokyo may be 150 miles away but many people are concerned that if the battle to get the crisis under control is not successful, it will have an impact on the capital. and they are following all of the developments closely. an increasing number of foreigners appeared to have decided to leave at least for now while the crisis continues. many were headed to destinations in asia or further afield. >> watching the nhk channel and seeing the damage, that is a concern. >> radiation is very dangerous so we are very worried. >> i am leaving earlier because i am concerned because i really don't know the situation about the radiation. it keeps changing. >> leaving from sendai, largest city closest to the earthquake's epicenter and up the coast from the nuclear plants.
7:07 am
for those caught up in the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami, the now ever-growing relief operation still made all the more complex by the bitter weather. bbc news. >> here in tokyo, 150 miles south of the fukushima plant, it is interesting, because i have been speaking to japanese families with young children. they are keen to leave the capital and move to the west and south. i have also been speaking to a british banker who has lived in japan for 18 years. he has been trying to buy his own geiger counter for his wife and family and has been quoted prices of 1,500 pounds. he says if he had children, he would definitely leave. of course, for the japanese people caught up in the crisis much closer to the plant, they haven't got the luxury of leaving at the moment. many hundred stock of thousand certainly. many -- many are staying in the
7:08 am
refugee centers in quite difficult conditions. it is far from ideal. clive has been speaking to some of them. >> this municipal sports hall in the center has now been requisitioned. it is a relief center for thousands of people, some of whom who lost their home as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. but many, many more who have actually been evacuated from the areas, the towns, and the city's directly in line with the fukushima nuclear plant. look behind me. thousands of people bedding down for the night. they have been arriving at the sports hall threw out the day. they have been signing in at the entrance. putting their names on a log book. then they are given some food, blankets, some water, mattresses. and here they are all now bedding down for the night. these are people who frankly did not have to watch the television to see what was going on with
7:09 am
the fukushima plant -- the explosions, the smoke rising from the towers, the helicopters desperately trying to drop water on the flaming fuel rods. these are people who only had to look through their windows to see what is going on. that is why they are here now. they were directly in the line of fire, as it were, if there is a catastrophic release of radiation. the question is when will these people be able to return to their homes. frankly, no one knows. this sports hall is three levels. two buildings the joined by a walkway. and all the sports halls within them are full with people. of course, the fear is that these people will never be able to return to their homes and villages near the fukushima plant, if there is a catastrophic release of radiation into the atmosphere. but authorities say they are doing everything they can to try to cool those fuel rods and the
7:10 am
and this crisis. -- and end this crisis. >> the sense of crisis, trepidation, and fear, not just for people living and working in japan but also the region. let's go to beijing to our correspondent. people have been panicked, buying certain items there, fearing that any radiation cloud could spread to where they are. >> the has been a bit of panic buying -- salt, that some believe will protect against radiation sickness. but here in beijing, certainly the situation feels very calm. what they have said is that the approval of new nuclear plants in china will be suspended. they also say are carrying out investigations, checks on existing nuclear reactors as well as the 27 or so that are
7:11 am
being built. so, there is a degree of cautious and definitely going into the future. but for now, china seems to be exercising caution in terms of plans to build of the future. but authorities say the situation is under control. that said, they are trying to evacuate chinese nationals from japan. we do know the national airlines have extra flights to bring these chinese nationals back from japan to china, with thousands and thousands trying to leave the country. but the point, martin, about the fukushima plant, it was built in 1971, i think. people at the time suggested there might be a design flaw in terms of the cooling process to keep the reactors at the right temperature. how many plants like this one, >> not too clear on that.
7:12 am
what is interesting about china is that china's nuclear reactor program is relatively small compared to other countries. it produces about 2% of bear energy. but going to the future china wants to expand its nuclear reactor program because they believe it supplies cleaner and more environmentally-friendly energy. although with the situation, with the situation in japan, i think people in china are saying let's pause for a moment and be cautious, and that is why they suspended any new approvals in the next few weeks or months. >> martin with the latest -- >> that was martin patients in beijing. we are learning from the japanese public broadcaster nhk that professional military fire trucks have now been unleashing
7:13 am
jets of water on one of the damaged reactor is at the fukushima and nuclear power plants. just to recap, the public broadcaster is telling us that japanese military fire trucks have been unleashing jets of water on the damaged reactor at fukushima. plenty more, of course, on that situation. let's now speak to the first secretary at the japanese embassy in london in our central london studio. thank you very much for speaking to us. can i first of all ask your assessment of the seriousness of the situation at focus shima? >> of course, the situation at fukushima is a serious issue which the government of japan is taking every measure possible, that is possible for our government, trying to contain the situation. >> the problem is that many of
7:14 am
the people we have been hearing from say they don't know if they are getting the full picture, they don't know if they can trust that are getting the full picture. do you worry there is a lack of confidence in the japanese government information? >> and therefore the price -- of course, the situation is ongoing and the information will change as the information changes. i believe that we have and we will continue to provide as much information, as much accurate information, as soon as possible. that is something we will continue to try to do. >> in terms of giving that information to other countries, in the last few hours, even china said japan must give a better picture. >> we feel that this is
7:15 am
something that is very important. we are doing our utmost to provide other countries, the media, the public, our own domestic population as well, with the information -- with be accurate and swift information that we have. >> in terms of the nuclear situation, what help is japan looking for from the international community? we know you can't ask for unmanned drones from the u.s. what else would you need, particularly from the iaea? >> i believe we have been asking for help from the iea -- iaea and from the united states. we will require and we will ask for assistance as needed. we will not hesitate to ask for help if we feel it is necessary. >> in terms of the humanitarian
7:16 am
situation, what is your assessment of how that is progressing? how are you getting essentials supplies for those in such desperate need, bearing in mind that weather conditions and the nuclear situation on going? >> i believe the earthquake itself, magnitude 9.0, unprecedented. many of the roads, land communications are destroyed. our immediate response was sending in almost 80,000 troops and rescue forces to rescue people. we succeeded in rescuing 26,000 people. now, as you say, the issue of how to support and released those displaced, -- and rel ieve those displaced, that is a concern for us. we set up headquarters at the ministerial level to address
7:17 am
this issue quickly. we are using our forces to send in necessary material. take an example -- we send in over 200 blankets -- 200,000 blankets, sari -- andsorry, and 150,000 more on the way. these are essentials that need to get to these relief centers. and our forces are doing their very best to do this as fast as they can. >> the first secretary at the japanese embassy in london, we appreciate your time. for the latest situation in japan -- information about that, had to our website. if you will find life a minute- by-minute coverage, tweets, and links that you can get in touch with us. go to
7:18 am
you are watching bbc world news. stay with us. prince william is visiting christchurch, new zealand, to see for himself the aftermath of last month's powerful earthquake. he will represent the queen at the memorial service for the victims and he will also visit the scene of a mining explosion that killed 29 people last november, before going to flooded areas in australia. >> at least increase cherts, there was no tsunami -- christ church, there was no tsunami. the building's collapse but the city was despaired what some many towns in japan had suffered. -- but the city was scared from what so many towns in japan suffered. he never would have imagined it seen it like this. at christ church cathedral, william listened intently about
7:19 am
-- to firsthand accounts. at times, he seemed lost in thought. from the cathedral, he was taken to the city's main business district. once a bustling hub. now streets after streets of abandoned shops and offices. he was shown multistory buildings which appeared unscathed but that are no longer sound and have to be demolished. >> this is unbelievable. he was surprised, and taken back, i think. >> he met the emergency teams. depleted by now because many were sent to japan. on his arm, a wristband in support. prince william has a special affection for new zealand and he has clearly been touched, just -- not just by the damage but above all, the efforts of the people to start the long process
7:20 am
of restoring the city. bbc news, christchurch, new zealand. >> you are watching bbc world ms. our main news this hour -- strenuous efforts continue at fukushima nuclear plant. the united states has come out firmly in favor of an air exclusion zone over libya. it says the security council should also consider stronger measures. let's get more on the japan situation. aaron has the latest figures from the japanese stock exchange. bad again. >> absolutely. one market watcher telling me this morning, it is a may have out there. a few minutes ago we saw the latest news and updates on the nuclear radiation and possible
7:21 am
fallout and that is putting the fear of god into investors. there is panic selling at the moment. despite the fact that the bank of japan over the past four days injected $400 billion into the japanese market system, basically the financial system. it is really not working at the moment. the other problem is the yen is soaring. it is at the highest against the u.s. dollar since world war ii. this is what the nikkei closed, down 1.4%. it had been down at one point over 4%. the problem with the surging yen, for a country that was already struggling to see growth and recover, but to recover all of the back of this disaster, it is export-lead. so the higher yen erodes the profits for the japanese exports. >> the implications globally for what is going on, people putting their money back into japan, what does that do to the rest of the world?
7:22 am
>> it could have a dramatic impact on the growth of all of our economies. repatriation is the word of the moment. one of the reason we see the yen's surge -- remember, the likes of japan and china have been funding our debt for years. china is the biggest exporter of capital. if japanese investors start with a drawing that money and repatriating it back to japan -- because they will need it, of course, for reconstruction -- then who is going to service our debt? who will buy the debt of the u.s.? many believe it will be an excuse for government central banks from around the world not to raise interest rates, and though top of that, reintroduce quantitative easing. basically printing money once again and increasing our own debt burden. a big question mark over that. a more in about seven minutes. >> thank you very much. let me show you some new
7:23 am
pictures we just got in on bbc world news. this is a of the small port town -- pictures we have not seen before of the tsunami rushing end last friday afternoon local time. as you can see, more evidence of the extraordinary scene at that hit japan. -- seen that hit japan. six days now. the rush of water coming into that small port town of miyaku city. one cameraman there. whole house is being shifted and torrent. to the torran quite remarkable scenes coming for the first time from that port town.
7:24 am
friday afternoon, following the magnitude 9 earthquake that struck japan. it just illustrates -- i am sure more pictures will continue to come in and forthcoming days of different aspects of this disaster. but another town absolutely decimated from that torrent. a terrible scenes from the northeast coast. a more terrible scenes on top of the absolutely devastating pictures we have seen in recent days. we will bring you more, of course, more coverage of the situation in japan throughout the forthcoming hour. let's go to libya, because colonel gaddafi is a warning of decisive battles ahead as his forces tried to regain control of rebel-held cities. meanwhile, the u.n. security
7:25 am
council is divided over a draft resolution to put a no-fly zone in place. here is our u.n. correspondent. >> colonel gaddafi's forces advancing. these images increase the sense of urgency as the security council debate a no-fly zone. the army is expected to push on to the rebel capital of benghazi, but they are divided whether a no-fly zone would really do much to protect civilians. now the american ambassador raised the stakes. >> the u.s. view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, and perhaps that go beyond a no-fly zone, as a no-fly zone has an inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk. >> the rebels have been waiting impatiently for diplomatic action. they say the extra steps americans have in mind could
7:26 am
include air strikes aren't cut off the ground forces. veto-holding countries like china and russia are wary of being sucked into someone else's civil war. but with the vulnerable citizens calling for an end to violence, supporters of the revolution are gambling no one on the council will block it. >> reports from bahrain -- opposition forces say at least four opposition leaders were arrested. they include one from the shiite movement was calling for an end of the bahrain and curfew in force by the soldiers has ended. in ivory coast, continuing gunfire overnight in the capital as supporters of internationally recognized president ouattara clashed with president gbagbo. senior united nations officials
7:27 am
have painted a bleak picture of daily life in the ivory coast. basic health and education services seriously disrupted. more on all of our stories via our web site, news. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click-to-play video reports. go to to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank.
7:28 am
>> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet los angeles.
7:29 am